On February 1, 2010, FERC requested $315.6 million for their fiscal-year 2011 budget from Congress, which represents a 5.9 percent increase from its 2010 budget.FERC estimated that it will spend roughly $167.5 million to regulate the electric industry, $77.5 million to regulate gas and oil pipelines, and $70.5 million on hydropower regulation. From these three categories $175.4 million will be spent on ensuring energy rates are just and reasonable while $140.2 million will be spent on promoting the development of energy infrastructure.
The single largest monetary increase was attributed to maintaining reliability of the electric transmission grid. That task will cost approximately $35 million, a 10.9 percent increase from the previous year. In order to maintain grid reliability, FERC will focus on three strategies: 1) processing reliability standards in a timely manner, 2) monitoring, auditing, and enforcing reliability standards, and 3) identifying reliability parameters that affect national goals of reducing carbon and increasing renewable energy resource integration into the grid.
With regard to market oversight, FERC said it will focus on two strategies for fiscal-year 2011: promoting internal compliance, especially through self-reporting of violations, and using a risk-based approach to plan and prioritize audits of companies under FERC’s jurisdiction. FERC said it will conduct more multi-scope audits in the upcoming fiscal-year, with a particular focus on: 1) affiliated transactions, 2) Order No. 679 transmission incentives, 3) market-based rate authority, 4) gas tariffs and contracts, and 5) accounting and reporting.
FERC also expects 4,200 rate and tariff filings for the electric industry, 1,800 for gas, and 600 for the oil industry in 2011. FERC also noted that although the siting of transmission facilities will only apply to limited situations, the process for siting those projects will be “contentious and complex.”
FERC recovers the cost of its operations through annual charges and filing fees under the Federal Power Act and the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986. Those revenues are then deposited into the United States Treasury, which results in no net appropriations. FERC’s official budget request for fiscal year 2011 is available at http://www.ferc.gov/about/strat-docs/FY11-budg.pdf.